Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 April 2001

THE MIDDLE East took another shuddering step towards war with the first ever invasion of the Palestinian Authority (PA) territory by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) on Monday 15 April. KEVIN SIMPSON looks at the latest developments.

A war by any other name

EVEN THOUGH the Israeli tanks, which thundered into three areas of the Gaza strip, returned to Israel within 24 hours, this action represents a qualitative stepping up of regional tensions. An action like this carried out in any other part of the world would be regarded as a declaration of war.

The abrupt retreat of IDF tanks from their positions, however, as a result of huge US pressure has opened up big splits inside the Israeli ruling class.

Israeli generals have reacted angrily to what they see as another humiliating retreat by the army from its stated position of dealing with any attacks on Israel in the 'sharpest possible manner', this time purely to please Israel's US backers.

Following this fiasco, Sharon's position has been weakened as far as the reactionary Israeli Jewish parties - who are part of his cabinet - are concerned. The developing splits amongst the ruling class are a foretaste of much bigger splits throughout Israeli society at a later stage.

Tactical change

THESE latest events should not be seen in isolation. A number of cumulative factors make a wider conflict more possible. The increased severity of military action taken by the IDF indicates a change in tactics by the Israeli ruling class.

More extreme Palestinian groups like Hamas have responded with a stepping-up of suicide bombings inside Israel and the use of mortars on Israeli settlements and towns. This has led to a hardening of attitudes on both sides of the national divide, preparing the way for a continued spiralling of violence and tension.

It has exposed even more clearly the impossibility of any genuine solution of the aspirations of the Palestinian people for national liberation under capitalism.

Additionally, there is the growing feeling amongst the Arab masses that US imperialism, despite its rebukes of the Sharon government, in fact supports the Israeli ruling class's latest murderous campaign to smash the Intifada.

The perception that the new Bush administration has a more aggressive anti-Arab approach is building a huge subterranean reservoir of hatred towards US imperialism that could explode any time.

The Israeli ruling class now aims, through economic and military measures, to break the back of the Palestinian uprising. Even if Ehud Barak had been re-elected as prime minister he would have eventually adopted much the same policy as Sharon has implemented since coming to power.

Economic collapse

ISRAEL'S RULERS want to force a defeated PA - with perhaps a different and more pliant leadership - to the negotiating table, to accept terms of surrender thinly disguised as a new "peace agreement". This involves the creation of a cantonised and emasculated Palestinian "state" surrounded by IDF bases and sub-divided by Israeli-controlled roads, ready to be used for reoccupation at a moment's notice.

A 'Palestine' of this sort would be completely dependent on Israel for economic trade and water supply. It would not be an independent Palestinian state but will be a series of impoverished, drought-ridden prison camps, guarded by the IDF on the outside and controlled by a corrupt PA on the inside.

In fact the IDF actions mean the further subdivision of the PA into 60 smaller cantons. The vast majority of Palestinians are barred from travelling between these cantons.

This current Israeli siege has caused over $2 billion in losses to the Palestinian economy and seen unemployment levels soaring to 48% of the population - poverty levels have rocketed.

Whilst the Israeli ruling class's attempt to militarily crush the Intifada will fail, the tactics of the more extreme Palestinian groups, like Hamas of bomb attacks on Israeli civilian targets have acted to drive sections of the Israeli Jewish working class into supporting the most reactionary, right-wing parties.

Socialists oppose the use of such actions by individuals no matter how heroic these actions may be viewed as by Palestinian activists. Such tactics solidify the Israeli population behind the Israeli ruling class and its generals.

A strategic goal of the Palestinian national liberation struggle must be to split the Israeli Jewish working class from its present support for the Israeli regime's continued repression of the Palestinian masses. This can only be done by exposing the class nature of Israeli (and Palestinian) society.

This could be done by producing propaganda explaining that the only way to end the bloodshed in the region would be by answering the national aspirations of the Palestinian people and the security fears of Israeli Jewish workers, which is impossible under capitalism.

Without this being done the mass opposition of the Palestinian people would continue.

Such material should also explain that the US-sponsored, capitalist Oslo accord has not brought genuine peace because of the class interests of those who negotiated the deal on both the Israeli and Palestinian side.

During the period of the peace accords, conditions for the Israeli working class have worsened as a result of the social and economic attacks by the political representatives of Israeli big business.

For Palestinians the corruption of the PA leadership means their conditions have become far worse. The failure of Oslo to answer the national aspirations of the Palestinian people now meant that Israeli conscripts were being killed on the frontlines while the same big businessmen were making super-profits.

These ideas could be linked to the necessity to overthrow capitalism in the region and creating a socialist alternative. On this basis working-class representatives from both sides of the national divide could negotiate a genuine agreement in the interest of the masses of the entire region.

Class solution

CONTINUED USE of armed force and the increasing Israeli fatalities with no solution in sight will eventually open up sharp divisions in Israeli Jewish society, which will undermine the appearance of national unity that currently exists.

On both sides of the national divide, especially amongst Israeli Jews, there is huge social pressure to unify in the face of an outside threat. This can effect genuine activists in to relinquishing a class approach to the situation.

But, precisely in war conditions a socialist approach is necessary as the only means of resolving the issues.

A socialist approach requires the overthrow of Israeli capitalism and the PA as well as the corrupt undemocratic Arab regimes and the formation of a socialist confederation of the Middle East - involving a socialist Israel and the creation of a genuine independent socialist Palestinian state.

This is an edited version of a Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) statement. The full text can be seen on the CWI website at:

We say:

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 27 April 2001:

Shut Down Capitalism

Stop The Jobs Slaughter

Drug companies: so much for the free market

Tube workers: If we stick together, we can win

Middle East: A war by any other name

Germany: Building international socialism


Home   |   The Socialist 27 April 2001   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Middle East:

triangleManchester bombing: Unite against terror, war and racism

triangleLivingstone, Labour and anti-Semitism

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

triangleFight racism and austerity


triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleShocking insight into Isis

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter


triangleConference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


triangleManchester Socialist Party: Israel-Palestine


triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy


triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


triangleDerby Socialist Party: Israel/Palestine - one state or two?


trianglePalestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest




Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong



Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't



Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide



Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events



Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia



Germany: Election results in political earthquake



Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!



German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance



French Labour reform protests



Catalonia: Student strike called



Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis



Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state



Berlin hospital strike



Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?



Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice